Review: Expand Your iPhone's Storage with the iOS Card Reader

 Expand Your iPhone's Storage with the iOS Card Reader

I've tried competing memory expanders for iOS but I think the iOS Card Reader ($39.99) from PhotoFast may finally earn a prized place in my gadget bag. Of course, Apple doesn't like to let users expand their memory, making you choose 16 GB, 64 GB 128 GB of storage. With Lightning-based memory expanders, you no longer have that limitation. They do require custom apps (free of course) to access movies, photos, songs, and more, but that's an understandable tradeoff.

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Usually you buy such a device with 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB, but that just duplicates the same problem Apple introduced. You have to decide in advance what capacity to use. The iOS Card Reader from PhotoFast uses expandable microSD cards, which are cheap, fast, and plentiful. You can have virtually unlimited storage by just getting more cards. Have one for kids movies, another for Sci-Fi, another for Romantic Comedies, etc., not to mention music and photos. Just pop-in a new microSD card (up to 128 GB!) as needed. This would be great for long car rides or flights.

The only downside is how small the microSD cards and the iOS Card Reader itself is. It's not a big problem (no pun intended) but you could lose it too easily. I would like to see a keyring perhaps or a velcro or magnetic side so it could always be attached somewhere reliable. The Lightning extension accommodates many cases, perhaps just not the bulkiest ones. There's also no "pass through" so you are limited by the battery life of your iOS device. 

I liked the well-designed app, which integrates nicely with Dropbox, Google Drive, YouTube, Vimeo, Touch ID, AirPlay, and other services. The iOS Card Reader is quite affordable, at $39.99 and that includes a 16 GB microSD card. It's sold in assorted colors which could help with visiibility, given how tiny it is!

Pros

  • Remarkably small
  • Well-designed app
  • Expandable
  • Assorted colors
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Perhaps too small
  • Does require additional app
  • No battery charging pass-through

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a way to add virtually unlimited storage to your iOS device, the iOS Card Reader from PhotoFast, combined with a bunch of microSD cards will do the trick. 

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.